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Laser light in a living system...

Hey, filkertom; maybe we can get those laser-tipped finger upgrades after all...

Laser is produced by a living cell


By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News
12 June 2011


Cell emitting laser light (M Gather) The single-cell lasers were less than 20 millionths of a metre across


A single living cell has been coaxed into producing laser light, researchers report in Nature Photonics.

The technique starts by engineering a cell that can produce a light-emitting protein that was first obtained from glowing jellyfish.

Flooding the resulting cells with weak blue light causes them to emit directed, green laser light.

The work may have applications in improved microscope imaging and light-based therapies.

Laser light differs from normal light in that it is of a narrow band of colours, with the light waves all oscillating together in synchrony.

Most modern forms use carefully engineered solid materials to produce lasers in everything from supermarket scanners to DVD players to industrial robots.

The new work, by Malte Gather and Seok Hyun Yun at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, marks the first time the phenomenon has been seen in a living system.

The pair used green fluorescent protein (GFP) as the laser's "gain medium", where light amplification takes place.

GFP is a well-studied molecule, first isolated from jellyfish, that has revolutionised biology by acting as a custom-made "torch" that can light up living systems on command.

In the new work, cells derived from human kidney cells were genetically engineered to produce GFP.

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
kayshapero
Jun. 17th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, is anybody reading this post but spammers? Getting tired of deleting them, though at least LJ manages to find & hide them pretty quickly.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )